‘Everybody loves you’
Maggie La Hue and her mother had a pact.
If one of them felt suicidal, that person would call the other for encouragement and to help change her mind.
The call never came in October 1993. Instead, La Hue’s 45-year-old mother, surrounded by the studies she began three months earlier to become a hospital administrator, killed herself. La Hue was 21.
La Hue, who grew up with her family in Boulder and now lives on East Orchard Mesa, said she knows now the pact was fruitless. There were times when she felt depressed and didn’t call her mother. La Hue assumes, based on her own experiences with depression, her mother probably felt talking to others about her problems would be a burden.
“(Suicide) is a selfish act. I know that now. When you’re in that place you don’t see it as a selfish act, you see it as a selfless act. I think she believed she was removing herself from a situation and she would make everyone’s lives better because she didn’t feel like she was contributing to people’s lives,” La Hue said.
She couldn’t have been more wrong. La Hue’s mom loved being around people. She started a preschool in their small mountain area and constantly invited people to her home or to join her in some activity. To anyone outside the immediate family, she was the ever-smiling, frequently dancing aunt, neighbor and friend who helped them enjoy life and make tough decisions. But she didn’t believe others saw her that way.
“A week before she died, she made a comment to my dad, ‘I don’t know why nobody likes me.’ He said, ‘Are you kidding me? Everybody loves you.’ So many people really did love her and she impacted their lives but she didn’t see it,” La Hue said.
It may take many tries, but La Hue said she encourages others to assure their friends and family they are loved as often as possible. It may take a while for them to believe it, but the payoff will be worth it if they do, she said.
After her mother died, La Hue stopped considering suicide as an option for herself. She discovered what it was like to be left behind and she had no desire to do that to anyone else. She still feels depressed sometimes but copes with it by taking a breather, gaining strength from her connection with God and pushing herself not to seek isolation.
La Hue is working on a book about her mom. She said it helps her cope with losing her mother, even two decades later.
“I miss her,” she said. “I love her. She made a mistake and I hate that she made that mistake.”